TSX makes modest gains on stronger banks; posts weekly loss

Fri Aug 2, 2013 4:50pm EDT
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By John Tilak

TORONTO (Reuters) - Canada's main stock index rose slightly on Friday as disappointment following a weaker-than-expected U.S. jobs report was offset by gains in the financial sector, but it ended the week lower.

The market was also weighed by a 6 percent decline in SNC Lavalin Group Ltd (SNC.TO: Quote) after the engineering and construction company reported a quarterly net loss and lowered its financial forecasts for the year, hit by charges taken on projects in two North African countries.

Data showed a slower pace of hiring by U.S. employers in July but a fall in the jobless rate, conflicting signals that could make the Federal Reserve cautious about drawing down its huge economic stimulus program.

One could call it "the Goldilocks number," said Allan Small, senior investment advisor at Dundee Wealth. "It's not too hot, not too cold, but just right.

"The Fed may still begin tapering in September, but now it's not so much a foregone conclusion," he added, referring to the U.S. central bank's withdrawal of economic stimulus.

The Toronto Stock Exchange's S&P/TSX composite index .GSPTSE closed up 9.29 points, or 0.07 percent, at 12,603.25.

The Canadian market, which shed 0.4 percent this week, has sharply lagged U.S. stocks this year.

Investors are very negative about Canadian equities in general, and commodities and precious metals in particular, Small said.   Continued...

A Toronto Stock Exchange (TSX) logo is seen in Toronto November 9, 2007. REUTERS/Mark Blinch